A funny kind of day

This morning I awoke early at Bellaugello Gay Guest House to glorious sunshine and a crisp coating of snow on the garden.  Although there has been snow on the summits of the Apennines for some time this was the first morning this year that there was a dusting of snow in the garden here at Bellaugello.  Soon the sun had disappeared and the snow was driving hard, flurries of large flakes obscured even the view from my bedroom to the infinity swimming pool.

I had planned to go to the local town of Gubbio as there is a good farmers’ market every Saturday morning, one where I love to buy vegetables, cheeses and breads, so despite the snowfall I ventured out to woodshed, loaded the wheelbarrow up and trudged to the boiler house to load up the biomass boiler with seasoned wood cut from my own woodland, real satisfying, if hard work!   I then got to the car and brushed the windscreen clear and set off.valdichiascio in the snow

I got as far as the gate when despite winter tyres the car started slipping, so reverse to flat ground and on with the snow chains.  Why is it that even modern easy fit snow chains are so un-cooperative?  I hate putting them on, no matter how I do it I still manage to get cold hands, wet knees and mightily frustrated.  Still I got the chains mounted and headed into town.

Despite there being little lying snow in gubbio the market was quiet this morning, stall holders told of bad road conditions coming from Urbino and Umbertide.  Still they made it and I managed to buy some wonderful soft mature creamy cheese made from Buffalo milk, and  from the baker who comes all the way from the delightful town of Bevagna just south of Perugia good wholemeal bread and rosemary focaccia.  Finishing off with fresh cut salad leaves, heavy juicy blood oranges and crisp root vegetables for stock for soups I headed to the agricultural merchant for a few items before returning home.

On entering the valley, there was no need for snow chains, the sun was shining brightly and the morning’s snow was melting.  Umbria at its winter best, crisp, clean, clear and sparkling.  I had friends invited over for lunch, and the fresh bread and cheese were destined as an antipasto whilst I cooked risotto of radicchio and pancetta.

My guests sat at the kitchen window, admiring the large view, the Chiascio valley lightly dusted with snow, the peaks of the Apennines all quite white and way to the south the rounded summit of Monte Subasio the hill behind Assisi, as if daubed with a good dollop of thick white emulsion paint, lavishly snow-covered.  As we sat to eat flurries of snow dashed against the window,Snow blowing over the roof at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy

and then the sun re-appeared as bright and glorious as ever.  With this hot sun I unloaded two machines full of washing and put them out to dry on the line.  Sun and a light breeze, I thought that the washing would but dry in no time, but no! within ten minutes the blue had vanished and was replaced with angry black clouds, soon it was snowing hard and hard was the best word to describe my washing.

Snowy laundry at Bellaugello Gay bed and Breakfast in Italy, Europe

I am now once again at my kitchen window, replying to emails, watching the sun filter weakly through the trees.  The oaks still miraculously holding onto their leaves, the sound of chainsaws from the distant hillside as they fell yet more woodland on the banks above the river.  The fields are verdant, autumn sown crops young and vigorous, the sky is cloudy, it is a cold sky, but inside the house all is toasty warm and the smell of clean laundry gently drying pervades the air.  So far it has been a funny sort of day really.


A quick and painless flight on wednesday from our local airport of Perugia saw me zapping to Brussels to attend a workshop organised by ENIT the Italian tourist board
The office of the region of Umbria is right in the heart of European Brussels and it was there with very generous hospitality that along with other operators from the region of Umbria I met with several buyers, and have done some very worthwhile business.

Now I am off to the large Brussels Expo centre for the holiday fair to do some follow up work.

And then a day of relax, tonight is La Demence (how ironic the evening is themed find a partner!) and I think I might just have to go! Tomorrow in downtown Brussels a bit of retail therapy, I have seen some wonderful things I would like for the suites at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, so I will see if the stores will ship.

Autumn – golden joy

The SUN continues to shine here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Once again yesterday it was 28˚c almost hot enough to brave the infinity pool, and the autumn colours are becoming quite spectacular. Here is the Caci tree, one of the last fruits of the season just ripening now

It is a time of tranquillity and silence, barely a rustle of leaves at night, and the mornings bright sunshine and mist in the valley below, a real time to recharge and revitalise, towns are quieter, autumn markets and fayres are starting, time to be thinking of cosy autumn breaks and crackling log fires

On seeds and pollen

Yesterday at Bellaugello Gay Guest House was a truly glorious day, hot sun and light breeze.

I decided to profit from the fine weather and get stuck into the garden.  Off to the consorzio for a whole host of bedding plants to put in the various pots and troughs that adorn terraces and walls.  Joy of joys I found the most amazing terracotta surfina petunias, they look so handsome in the large urns on the uppermost terrace.

I sew more basil/basilico (is sew the right word? what I want is the first person singular of the past tense of to sow as in seeds, but have no idea if the word exists or the one I have used is correct, anyhow now you get the sense)  and peppers – a bit late for that I suspect, and decided as it was looking a bit jaded to give the terrace table another coat of linseed oil.

Oh what a mistake….. for the light breeze started distributing the seeds from the tall trees that shade the sauna terrace, they are light like cotton seeds or snowflakes and blow into every nook and cranny including the newly oiled table, result a golden glowing table with a fine dusting of feathery seeds that have stuck to the surface, today’s task; how to remove the seeds or invent a story as to a new style organic table cloth!!

However today is another glorious day,


the guys here are planning to drive over the hills to nearby Assisi, and given time to also visit the fabulous Umbrian hilltop towns of Spello and Bevagna, it’s going to be a great day out.


durr… I guess the word I wanted is “sowed”


Quite simply a wonderful spring day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in dreamy Umbria, Italy.  Warm sun, greens refreshed by recent rains, light breeze, I’ve been pruning olive trees, life cannot get much better..

Really? a ‘working holiday’ at Bellaugello?

Seen busy at the breakfast table yesterday morning, guys here at Bellaugello Gay guest house studiously painting their eggs in preparation for the egg tossing at Pratale prior to the annual Easter lunch party

Well the egg tossing is traditional and the work was minimal, but the enjoyment immense, thanks to our hosts for a perfect and delicious lunch!

Good Friday at Bellaugello

A mass exodus from Bellaugello Gay guest house to the beautiful medieval city of Gubbio yesterday evening – the motive?  The guys wanted to experience the amazing and most atmospheric Good Friday procession of Christo Morto which I blogged about the other day.  This year the guys carried away by the atmosphere actually participated, and walked along with all the uniforms in the procession

Afterwards at dinner together , a starter of my new found favourite baccalà – salt cod slow cooked and served with our own olive oil and lemon zest, conversation flowed freely and stories about the procession abounded.  For the main course being Scottish I served poached salmon – ok it was poached in a liberal dosing of the local Trebbiano white wine, and accompanied by agretti, those fine delicate greens that are still so seasonal. We finished real late with a ricotta pie, which I had laced with fig and ginger marmalade, of course all washed down with moderate quantities of Sagrantino di Montefalco and a rather fine Chianti Classico

Today the guys are off to Assisi, those less traditionally or regiously minded to the delightful Umbrian hilltop towns of Spello and Bevagna.  Me? I think I will stay home and cut the grass!

Bikes, exploring and Picnics

A sunny day and a request from guests saw me here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House preparing the bikes and packing a picnic in our smart picnic rucksack

There are many wonderful quiet tracks and roads accessed directly from Bellaugello, and whether by bike or on foot with our handy picnic rucksack guys can spend a delightfully leisurely day exploring safe in the knowledge that they have a good picnic with proscuitto, pecorino, fresh baked bread, salad leaves and fresh fruit, and of course a bottle of chilled grechetto!

Magical misty morning…….

One of the delights of my life here in Umbria at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, rather surprisingly for those who know me well, are, early mornings.  I just love waking up and seeing misty rolling clouds hanging in the valley below.  To me it is like having slept on a magic carpet, or in the cosseted first class cabin of a Zeppelin, the sun shines, the skies above are clear, bright, clean, azure and below, fluffy billowy clouds cling to the treelined valley slopes

Here at Bellaugello we are busy preparing for Easter weekend. As always a mix of tradition and modern.

This friday evening, in time honoured tradition at sundown in the beautiful nearby medieval city of Gubbio a mysterious chanting is to be heard, heralding the “Procession of the dead Christ”

I find the procession which is a veritable spectacle, both enthralling and at the same time somewhat sinister.  By the presence of so many good citizens from Gubbio it is undoubtedly one of the most important festivals for the city.

The city of Assisi, a delightful 40 minutes scenic drive from Bellaugello, made famous by S Francesco or St Francis, the good man who befriended animals and together with Assisi’s other but less famous saint, S Chiara or St Claire led and avowed simple pure life, is now a bustling high end international tourist destination.  Not only for the clergy, priests are a plenty in Assisi, but also pilgrims and visitors from all over the world who come to share the Easter message and marvel at the Giotto frescoes in the Basilica.

All around in Umbria there is a festive feeling and we at Bellaugello join in another tradition started in more recent times by good neighbours of our here in the valley, who as always, invite us, and all of our guests to a family lunch party and painted Easter Egg rolling.

Lunch is always a large affair, with family, and lots of friends. Guys staying at Bellaugello are asked to bring a dish or item from their home region to go along with our hosts’ organic produce, and so commences a wonderful friendly and utterly delicious international lunch party..